Your Next Great Idea: The Creative Spark of AC/DC

Highway to Hell album cover

Happy 58th birthday to Angus Young of AC/DC!

The legendary guitar player still has all of the on-stage energy that he did when he was 28.

Angus owes a life-long debt of gratitude to his sister Margaret.

She was the one who suggested that Angus wear his school uniform on stage.

And she also came up with the band’s name, after seeing the letters “AC/DC” on a vacuum cleaner.

Your next great idea could come from anywhere.

We tend to close off our world to outside voices, preferring to listen to the inner circle of people we know and trust. But those people are cursed with knowledge, so their ideas are often “inside the box”.

When you are looking for inspiration, take a walk outside your comfort zone. Talk to people disconnected from your field on expertise. Read a magazine from an industry that is totally unlike the one you work in.

And listen. Hear the words and phrases around you and soak them in.

When your radar is on, the ideas flow like the electricity that powered the vacuum that inspired AC/DC’s name.

The marketing book Brand Like a Rock Star profiles AC/DC in Chapter One, examining the band’s incredible consistency. The book goes on to look at dozens of legendary bands, and how you can use their experiences to make your business more profitable and successful. You can order it in paperback or digital download with one click from Amazon.


AC/DC 195 Comments

Your Obstacles Will Define You

Stik Rick is the creation of Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen.

Stik Rick is the creation of Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen.


When you think of Rick Allen, the drummer for Def Leppard, what is the first thing that comes to mind?

He has one arm.

Despite all of his natural talent as a percussionist, Rick Allen is most notable for the obstacles he overcame.

It isn’t how you handle the good times that defines you… it’s how you handle the tough times.

Def Leppard was in the studio working on the follow up to their massive album Pyromania when, on New Years Eve 1984, Rick was involved in a terrible car accident that severed his left arm at the shoulder.

In those dark early days of his recovery, Rick’s brother brought a portable stereo to the hospital. Very quickly, Rick found himself mentally recreating the drum parts… without using his left arm.

Suddenly there was hope.

He left the hospital ahead of schedule and rejoined the band. As they recorded their parts to a drum machine, Rick locked himself in an isolation booth and practiced relentlessly on a new custom-designed drum kit that combined traditional and electronic drums. It took months of painful practice, but when Rick Allen and Def Leppard made their triumphant return at the Monsters of Rock Festival in 1986, the band and the audience were overcome with emotion.

The new album, Hysteria, went on to sell over 20 million copies and spawn an incredible seven hit songs. Today he continues to play with Def Leppard as he maintains a foundation that uses percussion as an element in the rehabilitation and inspiration of veterans and those in trauma.

What Rick Allen accomplished would have been remarkable for any able-bodied drummer.

The fact that he accomplished it in the face of the physical and mental obstacles he encountered is staggeringly powerful.

The obstacles in your way are not there to stop you. They are there to strengthen you.

When you overcome them, your legend grows.

The problem is that if you let the obstacles overcome you, your legend grows as well.

Which will it be?

Brand Like a Rock Star reveals the core marketing strategies of rock legends and shows you how to put them to use in your business. You can order it now with one click in Kindle or paperback. The sequel is in the works, applying similar lessons to personal branding, growth, and career development.

Def Leppard, Rick Allen 148 Comments

The Three Greatest Rock Band Brands


I get the question a lot.

Which is the most well-branded band in rock ‘n’ roll history?

And as often as I get the question, I don’t always have an easy answer. So many bands have branded themselves successfully! But there are three bands that, in my opinion, have created the most powerful brands in rock history.

These are three bands whose brands transcend their music.


No band has mastered the art of merchandising like KISS. No band has turned their music into an financial empire like KISS. Few bands have created such a powerful following as KISS did with the KISS Army. Their drive to monetize their music has turned many people off over the years, but it has made the band millions.


The beauty of Buffett is that he turned one little catchy song into a profit machine. “Margaritaville” has become synonymous with the beach bum lifestyle, and fans flock to his restaurants, casinos, and hotels to experience it. They pick up his Landshark Lager beer and wear his clothing line to celebrate the idea of life on the beach. His annual tours have become destination vacations for his Parrothead followers.


Without the benefit of mainstream exposure, the Grateful Dead created their cult by giving away their music, actively engaging their Deadhead fan following, and touring relentlessly. The Grateful Dead made a ridiculously disproportionate amount of money considering the minimal radio airplay and exposure they received, and their brand continues to live on nearly two decades after Jerry Garcia passed away.

What do you think?

Which rock band has created the most powerful business brand?

Download the Kindle version or order the paperback of Brand Like a Rock Star with just one click here, and start building a stronger and more profitable business using the core marketing strategies of rock legends like AC/DC, U2, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and many others… including the three well-branded artists mentioned in this piece.

Can I ask you one little favor?

If you find the Brand Like a Rock Star blog useful and interesting, I would be extremely grateful if you would take 10 seconds and share it with someone in your circle who might also enjoy it. Tweet it, Facebook it, or email it. Do what makes you happy. Thanks!


Deadheads, Grateful Dead, Jimmy Buffett, KISS, KISS Army, Parrotheads, Uncategorized 493 Comments

Volume is important. Balance is essential.

volume balance

Volume is important.

You need to be heard, to get noticed, and to stand out.

But balance is essential.

You need to connect, listen, learn, teach, and share.


Most marketing is all volume. It is yelling. It is repetition and interruption. It screams at you to act now or else you’ll suffer serious consequences.

Smart marketing uses balance. It moves you emotionally and invites you to be part of a special movement. You are compelled to act not because you are frightened, but because you are engaged.

Does your marketing have balance?

Outside of work, it is easy to let your life become overwhelmed by the volume. When things don’t sound right in your headphones, step back, take a deep breath, and adjust your balance.


Click here to join the Rock Star movement. You can instantly order a paperback or digital download of Brand Like a Rock Star: Lessons From Rock ‘n’ Roll to Make Your Business Rich and Famous.


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Sheryl Crow and PBR: Finding Your Next Generation of Fans

SherylJones copy

Meeting Sheryl Crow backstage in Nashville!

Have you heard the cool new Sheryl Crow song “Easy”?

It’s a country hit, which may seem odd considering that Sheryl Crow, aside from her Kid Rock duet “Picture”, has never been a country star.

When you listen to the song, you quickly realize that Sheryl Crow hasn’t really changed.

Country music has changed.

Now, Sheryl Crow is a country star with a whole new vast audience to reach.

Are you missing out on potential customers because of what you think you are and who you think your customers are?

Pabst Blue Ribbon was the most blue collar or blue collar beers for decades. In 1977, they sold 18 million barrels of Pabst Blue Ribbon. By 2001, they were selling less than one million barrels… a 90% drop.  The brand’s owners embarked on a plan to cut all expenses, including marketing, and let the brand die while still making a profit for them.

And then something very interesting and unexpected happened.

The lack of marketing presence gave the beer cachet with young urban anti-corporate hipsters. They were buying it because it was under the radar. Sensing opportunity, Pabst Blue Ribbon tapped into their new customer base, sponsoring indie music bands, dive bars, and underground movements like facial hair clubs such as the RVA Beard League.

Today Pabst Blue Ribbon is a healthy and vibrant beer brand with a whole new customer base that it never, ever envisioned.

And just like Sheryl Crow, they didn’t have to change a bit.

Click here to instantly download or order Brand Like a Rock Star, and start putting the strategies of rock legends to work to create a more profitable and successful business!


Sheryl Crow, Uncategorized 142 Comments

Finding Purpose In Your Work: Bob Geldof – Famine and Fortune

He was a somewhat successful but by no means world famous musician in his early 30s, when he saw this news report from Ethiopia that changed his world, and yours.

It was 1984, and in Africa record drought combined with government incompetence and corruption had created a perfect storm of famine. Millions of children were starving to death in refugee camps, and the world was doing nothing about it.

Bob Geldof mobilized his musician friends, pulled a few strings, and recorded “Do They Know It’s Christmas” in the fall of 1984. It became the fastest-selling single in music history.

The following summer, he again mobilized the troops and created a massive concert that happened simultaneously in London and Philadelphia. Live Aid stretched the technology of the day to the limit and was broadcast worldwide by satellite.

What Bob Geldof accomplished made him famous. He was knighted. He made millions of dollars (his personal net worth is estimated at over $52 million USD). And he impacted millions of lives in a positive way.

Three things we can learn from Bob Geldof.

1. If you want to lead, lead. Don’t wait until someone asks you to lead or until the leader fails. “As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change toward him.” - Ghandi

2. If you decide to change the world, go all the way. Don’t back down because it is difficult. We choose to… do these things… because they are hard.” – John F. Kennedy

3. If you want to be rich and famous, stop trying to be rich and famous. Instead focus your energy on being insanely great at something you are very passionate about, and others want.  Insanely great stuff + customer demand = profit.

Click here to instantly order your copy of Brand Like A Rock Star: Lessons From Rock ‘n’ Roll To Make Your Business Rich and Famous. You’ll go backstage and behind the scenes to dissect the core marketing strategies of rock legends and learn how to put them to use in your business right away.

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The Secret of Life According To Curly: One Thing

Photo courtesy of user soulbeauty

One thing. That’s all you need to know.

Remember the Billy Crystal movie City Slickers?

There is a great scene where Mitch (played by Billy) is riding a horse alongside rough veteran cowboy Curly (played by Jack Palance). Curly and Mitch are talking about Mitch’s struggles with a midlife crisis.

“Do you know what the secret of life is?” asks Curly.

Mitch looks confused. “No, what?”

“This,” says Curly, holding up a single finger wrapped in a worn leather riding glove.

“Your finger?”

“One thing. Just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean shit.”

“That’s great,” says Mitch, “but what’s the one thing?”

“That’s what you’ve got to figure out.”


What’s your one thing?

Do you have the intense focus it takes to become famous for doing something exceptionally well?

What do you sacrifice in your quest to be singularly great at one thing?

If you can’t think of business you’ve walked or opportunity you’ve passed up because it didn’t line up with your “one thing”, then you probably don’t have the focus it takes to become famous.


You aren’t Justin Timberlake. He is a singer, dancer, actor, songwriter, and all around celebrity good guy. Watching him on SNL last weekend was a reminder of how rare it is for a performer to become famous for doing multiple things well.

Even Timberlake has been a specialist, focusing first on being a singer in a group, then on being a solo performer, and then on acting. Seldom has he tried to be all of them at once.

But the Timberlake’s of the world are rare. Do not be fooled by them.


Strive to be Curly instead of Timberlake.

Find your one thing, and become famous for it.

… and then everything else don’t mean shit.



Order the book Brand Like a Rock Star by clicking here, and have the digital download on your Kindle in seconds or have the paperback en route to your home. Inside you’ll discover the core marketing strategies of rock legends, and learn how to put them to use to build a better business.


justin timberlake, Uncategorized 1,990 Comments

How Much Do You Suck? Four Steps To Rock Star Status

Nickelback photo from

Nickelback sucks, right?

They must. Everybody says so.

They are the most maligned and criticized band on the planet.

Here’s just how much they suck:

* Billboard ranks them as the top group of the 2000s.

* They have sold 50 million albums worldwide.

* “How You Remind Me” was ranked as the #1 rock song of the decade.

* These four Canadian boys are the second best-selling foreign act in the USA (behind the Beatles) of the 2000s.

Sure people hate Nickelback, and for good reason. Plenty of people hate their formulaic sound. Others beat up on them for the misogynistic lyrics. There’s a faction that hates them from moving from alternative rock into the mainstream.

And does Nickelback care about people who hate them?

They have 50 million reasons not to care.

When you are successful for something, you are bound to have detractors who hate you.

Chances are very good that the people who hate you a) were never your fans to begin with, and b) would never be a fan of yours no matter what.

If you listen to the haters, you’ll compromise what you do in order to please people who never have – and never will – like you.

How will that make your true fans feel?

Four steps to business success (thanks to Nickelback):

1. Find a group of people that love you.

2. Make them very, very happy.

3. Tune out the haters.

4. And rock on!

Start building a more engaging, profitable, and more successful business right away. Click here to order the book Brand Like a Rock Star can show you how to put the marketing strategies of rock stars to work in your business.

Nickelback 118 Comments

Always Be Closing?


Alec Baldwin uttered the now-famous the line “Always Be Closing” in Glengarry Glen Ross.

It was cool then, but it is idiotic today.

We live in a new business environment where “always be closing” won’t cut it.

What replaces “closing” in 2013 and beyond? What should you ALWAYS be doing?

Always Be Caring. If you actually give a sh*t about my well-being, I’m far more likely to buy from you. For a long time.

Always Be Communicating. Treat me like a friend and not as a prospect, and you’ll make far more money from me.

Always Be Connecting. Share the emotional experience I’ll get from buying from you, not the product or service itself.

Always Be Committing. Let me know that you’re invested in our relationship for the long haul.

Being a Rock Star has never been about closing.

Mick Jagger never tried to sell you concert tickets. He and his band made amazing music that excited and engaged you, and you went out and dropped your hard-earned money on their albums and concerts.

We would have never bought tickets from a band so desperate as to “always be closing”.

What does A-B-C mean to you these days? Share it with me on Twitter.


Alec Baldwin 1,854 Comments

When You Rock, The World Pays Attention


Last year when Brand Like A Rock Star first came out, I was honored when one of my favorite artists, Hugh MacLeod, created this cartoon based on the book’s message.

Hugh’s work is at and he also did the illustrations for the book Linchpin by Seth Godin. His own books, including Ignore Everybody, are fantastic.

As you can see in the picture, the piece Hugh created for Brand Like A Rock Star features a typical Hugh character flashing the rock ‘n’ roll devil horns, and includes the caption “When you rock, the world pays attention.”

A limited number of postcards have been produced with this full-color image on the front. On the back are quotes about the book from Gene Simmons and Alice Cooper.

If you’d like one, just ask.

Simply like the Brand Like A Rock Star Facebook page and then send me a Facebook message with your mailing address. I’ll sign one of the postcards and drop it in the mail for you. Postage is on me. If you’d like more than one, just say so.

The postcard is a great social object and conversation starter, and it can be an excellent remind of why you need to make rocking your mission every single day.

Thanks for all of the support and for spreading the word about the Brand Like A Rock Star movement. I am extremely grateful.

Rock on!




Hugh MacLeod, Uncategorized 811 Comments